The province of Burgos, thanks to its different landscapes, has also served as a location for the western genre. Four projects have been carried out in the province, All’ombra di una colt, The good, the bad and the ugly, The Legend of Frenchie King or Petroleum Girls and El Coyote, with Sergio Leone’s film being the most internationally successful.
Merindades-Arlanza-Ribera del Duero
Cabezón de la Sierra
Sad Hill Cemetery
San Pedro de Arlanza
Viewpoint of the Ebro Canyon
Orbaneja del Castillo
Mount Hijedo (Santa Gadea del Alfoz)
Recommended means of transport
To do the whole route we recommend a car
The hermitage of Valdeherreros can be reached by track, after which the path disappears. The winery district of Milagros is partially accessible.
The section on foot to the locations of The Legend of Frenchie King or Petroleum Girls is not adapted for people with reduced mobility.
Sad Hill Cemetery and the monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza are accessible for persons with reduced mobility, although on Sad Hill when the ground is wet there can be difficulties. Betterville Prison Camp and Langstone Bridge are not accessible to persons with reduced mobility.
Most of the route is accessible to persons with reduced mobility except the Ebro Gorge Viewpoint is not accessible. In Orbaneja del Castillo, some streets are accessible, but access is difficult. Monte Hijedo is partially accessible.
ALL’OMBRA DI UNA COLT (1965)
Steve (Steven Forsyht) and Duke (Conrado San Martin) are two gunmen hired by a wealthy farmer in the Mexican town of Casas Grandes to take down the Ramirez gang (Aldo Sambrell). For Steve, this is his last job as he intends to live a quieter life on his own hacienda and with the daughter of his partner Duke (Anna Maria Polani).
The union between the two will not be easy as Duke rejects the relationship and is willing to confront his partner to prevent his daughter from escaping with Steve.
In 1965, the Italian and Spanish co-production team travelled from Madrid to the riverside village of Milagros, near Aranda de Duero, to recreate the Mexican village of Casas Grandes.
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (1966)
Sergio Leone travels to Burgos with the intention of recreating the landscapes of New Mexico and Arizona for what will be the third part of a trilogy starring Clint Eastwood.
The third part of the Dollar Trilogy is set in the midst of the American Civil War (1861-1865) and tells the story of three wandering characters who set out in search of $200,000 worth of loot buried in a war cemetery. Rubio (Clint Eastwood), Sentencia (Lee Van Cleef) and Tuco (Eli Wallach) will have to ally and betray each other to get their hands on the money.
The film was shot in different locations in Madrid, Almeria and Granada, but it is the province of Burgos that has the largest number of locations in the film. Giancarlo Santi, who was in charge of the locations, was looking for a river with an environment similar to the landscapes of New Mexico, and the Ministry of Agriculture had already suggested some landscapes in the north of Spain.
The area chosen was the Arlanza Valley, where the sequences of the Betterville Concentration Camp (Carazo), the interiors of the San Antonio Mission (San Pedro de Arlanza Monastery), the battle of Langstone Bridge (Arlanza River) and the final scene of the Sad Hill Cemetery (Santo Domingo de Silos) were filmed.
THE LEGEND OF FRENCHIE KING or PETROLEUM GIRLS (1971)
Frenchie King (Brigitte Bardot) and her sisters form a gang dedicated to robbing trains and banks. Marie (Claudia Cardinale) lives with her brothers in the city. The two families are pitted against each other for control of a ranch believed to contain oil.
The film was mostly shot in the area of Colmenar Viejo (Madrid). However, at the beginning and at the end of the film, there is some footage of a railway that corresponds to the “Santader – Mediterráneo” line in the area between Salas de los Infantes and Rabanera del Pinar.
THE COYOTE (1998)
For more than a century, California had belonged to Spain. In 1822, after the independence of Mexico, the territory became part of the newly born Republic. Twenty-five years later, after the Mexican-American War, California became a state of the Union.
From that moment on, the new owners of California coveted its riches and some did not hesitate to use violence to obtain them.
César de Echague (José Coronado), the son of a Spanish nobleman, is called upon by his father to bring order to the threat of being dispossessed of his land, but it is an enigmatic masked man who confronts the unscrupulous people and the corrupt military.
Director Mario Camus took on an ambitious project that included a feature film, The Return of El Coyote, and two television episodes, El Coyote: Don Cesar de Echague and The Court of El Coyote.
Oscar-winning art director Gil Parrondo was in charge of scouting locations to recreate 19th century California. The task was not easy and the film crew had to work the length and breadth of the peninsula: from the farmhouses of Extremadura to the western towns of Almeria to the wooded and greener areas of the northern part of Burgos.
Hermitage of Valdeherreros in Milagros
The first sequences of ‘All’ombra di una colt’ were shot in Milagros. The remains of the hermitage of Valdeherreros, located in the valley of the river Riaza, served as a backdrop to recreate the Mexican village of Casas Grandes.
Winery district of Milagros
Together with the hermitage of Valdeherreros, the cellar district appears at the beginning of ‘All’ombra di una colt’. The physiognomy of this place has changed a lot since the filming in 1965. In some of the shots, the villagers themselves were hired as extras to give life to the Mexicans themselves.
Petroleum Girls in the Santander Mediterranean
The success of the western genre in the 60s and 70s led two of the most important actresses of the time, Claudia Cardinale and Briggite Bardot, to star in a French comedy set in the West. The Legend of Frenchie King or Petroleum Girls began filming in June 1971 in Colmenar Viejo under the direction of director Guy Casaril, but a few days later it moved to Burgos, with Christian-Jaque as director, to shoot the railway sequences on the Santander-Mediterranean line. To get to this location, park the car at the Cristo Arrodillado hermitage in Cabezón de la Sierra, walk towards the old train station and continue along the old railway track.
Betterville concentration camp (Carazo)
The first location of ‘The good, the bad and the ugly’ was the Betterville Concentration Camp on a hilltop outside the village of Carazo. A large palisade was built there, of which only the moat that enclosed the camp now remains.
Sad Hill Cemetery (Santo Domingo de Silos)
The three-way duel in ‘The good, the bad and the ugly’ in the circular Sad Hill Cemetery (Santo Domingo de Silos) to the rhythm of Ennio Morricone’s Ecstasy of Gold is the most recognisable and iconic sequence of the western.
The Mission of San Antonio (San Pedro de Arlanza)
The interior of the Mission of San Antonio in ‘The good, the bad and the ugly’, the place where Tuco takes Rubio to cure his wounds, was filmed in the Monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza in Hortigüela. The curious thing about this sequence is that the exterior of the Mission was filmed hundreds of kilometres away, in the Cortijo del Fraile in Almería.
Battle of Langstone Bridge (Hortigüela, Contreras)
One of the sequences that required the most extras in ‘The good, the bad and the ugly’ was the battle of Langstone Bridge. It was filmed on the river Arlanza (Rio Grande) just over a kilometre from the Monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza.
Viewpoint of the Ebro Canyon
The Ebro Canyon in Pesquera de Ebro was the incomparable setting in which the triptych directed by Mario Camus in 1998 and scripted by Cesar Mallorquí was filmed at the same time. It consisted of a film for the big screen (La vuelta de El Coyote) and two episodes for television (El tribunal de El Coyote and Don César de Echágue).
Orbaneja del Castillo
Orbaneja del Castillo was another of the three locations in Burgos, together with the Ebro Canyon and Mount Hijedo, where the triptych of ‘El Coyote’ was filmed at the same time.